SMALL BUT MIGHTY: Ropeley State School teaching principal Charmaine Wilson, with students (back row L-R) Kaleb Heathcote-White, Jay Blair and Jake Plant, (front L-R) Lakita Plant, Phoenix Forster and Harley Blair. PICTURE: ALI KUCHEL
SMALL BUT MIGHTY: Ropeley State School teaching principal Charmaine Wilson, with students (back row L-R) Kaleb Heathcote-White, Jay Blair and Jake Plant, (front L-R) Lakita Plant, Phoenix Forster and Harley Blair. PICTURE: ALI KUCHEL

Meet the school with less students than a football team

FOR students at Ropeley State School, remembering the names of every student is as easy as counting to nine.

Returning to school hasn’t been daunting for these kids, after all, not many school kids can claim to be able to count every student in their school on their hands.

The small state school, 15 minutes west of Gatton, has just nine students enrolled.

And teacher-principal Charmaine Wilson wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love teaching. I love working with the children and have been blessed with supportive parents and staff since my first day at Ropeley,” Ms Wilson said.

As both school leader and teacher, she tries to foster a culture of inclusivity, which she calls their “super power”, among the small cohort.

“We know, we understand and we accept that to be human, our very humanness is built on diversity. We are all different and complex individuals,” she said.

“Ropeley has always be an inclusive school – we provide individual education in a caring family friendly environment.”

Day-to-day life runs very similarly to any other school, which follows the Australian curriculum.

Lessons vary depending on the needs of the students, with classes conducted in whole group, small group or one-on-one situations, as necessary.

The students also benefit from visiting specialist teachers, including art, German and physical education specialists.

“Teacher aides are also worth their weight in gold and provide much valued support to both teachers and students,” Ms Wilson said.

CLASSROOM CHAMPION: Ropeley State School teaching principal Charmaine Wilson loves her role as school leader and classroom teacher. PICTURE: ALI KUCHEL
CLASSROOM CHAMPION: Ropeley State School teaching principal Charmaine Wilson loves her role as school leader and classroom teacher. PICTURE: ALI KUCHEL

Despite its small size, the school is well resourced, thanks largely to fundraising efforts by the community.

This year the school was also lucky to have one of its air conditioners replaced through a government grant.

“Our parents and staff and community, over the past 20 plus years have worked incredibly hard to raise funds to ensure that Ropeley has always been airconditioned for the comfort of our students,” she said.

“To have one of our old rattlers that no longer works replaced will be great, especially after the heat this summer.”

Students also have access to iPads, an interactive smart board, a well stocked library and even a dedicated art room.

And the students don’t miss out on the school classics like sports day, with the school joining its school-cluster counterparts to participate in events like the Caffey Small Schools Athletics Carnival, annual swimming carnivals as well as an end-of-year concert.

All this makes for a unique school that creates lasting memories and strong results.

“We aim to nurture productive, independent and resilient students who can be proud of the role they play in our society,” Ms Wilson said.

“It’s always very pleasing to hear from past student about their adventures in life.”


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